Articles on this page are sorted by date entered and some are being

used within this site under appropriate headings

 What if we were designed to be full (His presence) all the time - Graham Cooke  - Quote added HOME page July 15, 2013

HARPUR: Best to ignore ill-informed hell threats - posted June 29, 2013

The huge billboard towered over the teeming traffic of Interstate 75, just south of Detroit. Its message in enormous red capital letters was in the form of a question.

The question was searching, yet bullying in tone: “If you were to die tonight (always a real possibility in the multi-laned mad rush to a myriad of destinations), where would you be, heaven or hell?”

It was followed by a phone number and a caption citing some evangelistic agency as sponsor. The sight of it brought a flood of memories and emotions, but it was only after we had pulled off the road for the night that it was possible to focus on it.

But later, reflecting on that sign, a mix of sorrow and anger stirred in me. In my early childhood, my parents were keenly evangelical and exposed my siblings and me to some of the most vehemently fundamentalist-style preaching on the planet. Most of it was delivered by earnest but deeply unlearned people at a Gospel hall in Toronto’s east end. One preacher, whose favourite theme was the imminent end of everything, often closed his sermons with the same question posed by the sign. We would trudge homeward later in the darkness, our heads filled with the wildest of images and terrors. Thankfully, like St. Paul, when we became more mature we were able to “put away childish things” and to be glad our parents were also able to do so.

I have often since felt sad that down the centuries so many millions of honest, decent folk have been haunted by such self-appointed prophets and preachers who claimed to know God’s special plans for eternity. All of these proclaimed a burning hell, “lakes of fire,” and numerous other horrors reserved by an allegedly loving creator for those who refuse to get converted, saved or born again, or jump through some other religious hoop.

Many Muslims and Christians who have taken literally what their sacred books seem to say on this topic have been cajoled into following an extremist leadership bent on getting their way — and all in the name of God.

Studying hundreds of preachers over a lifetime, I’ve come to see clearly the naive yet highly effective way in which the listeners are manipulated into feeling extraordinary depths of fear and guilt as their “sinfulness” is analyzed and decried. Billy Graham, one of the most respected evangelists of our time, once confided he saw a need to warm his crusade audiences with the fires of hell before offering them a way out of their induced despair in his summing up and final emotional appeal.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer warned against this type of “spiritual pharmaceutics” approach by the churches. By this he meant any process whereby fear and guilt are stirred up by threats of God’s “wrath” over sin and then miraculously “cured” by repentance and conversion.

The supreme irony is that in the case of the Gospels, the kind of hell described here has no place at all.

The Greek text says “Gehenna” where the translators have written “hell.” Gehenna was the name of the garbage dump in the Valley of Hinnom, just outside the walls of old Jerusalem. For sanitary reasons the fires there were burning continuously. When Jesus is portrayed as speaking of hell, this is what the saying is about: “Be careful or you could end up on the garbage heap of life.” Paul never mentions Gehenna (hell) nor does John’s Gospel.

Preachers of every religion should banish hell from their preaching and thinking. In fact, I would sound a warning: Be very careful of the kind of deity you worship because you inevitably grow in the likeness of the object of your deepest reverence, awe and respect.

— Tom Harpur is a bestselling author on spiritual and ethical issues.www.tomharpur.com

 IsHN response to Rob Bell - Doug Harris Interview-2012 - Nov 26/2012

"The Gospel is better than we thought" - maybe in the state we are in now because what has been handed down to us as truth over the past centuries, we can't even begin to understand God's love for all and " it's too good to be true or for us to believe."

 

Love Wins and the revelation of God's love for us, presented in Rob's book and this interview is a new beginning of understanding our God and creator. Rob is helping us to understand and is encouraging us to go deeper into understanding so we can personalize God as love and God's passion to bring us to a place where he can bring us to the full blessing he has waiting for us.

My favorite point Rob made was that illustration of how many know Jesus as loving & always caring and how God the Father was viewed by some as nothing more than an angry judge waiting for the oppurtunity to convict. Jesus is the way to the Father. "If you know me you know the Father."

We may have to lay down our interpetation of scripture to understand this new revelation. From what I have seen to this point is that Rob Bell is presenting  "The Good News" as never before expressed and it is only the traditional interpetation of scriptue that hides what he is asking us to explore. Can we lay down our knowledge for a moment and at least give it some thought and true meditation. I believe God our Father would be okay with that. Many in Jesus time could not believe in what Jesus was teaching because of what they were taught. Could we also be experiencing this or do we have enough faith to explore and grow.

 

 Andrew Murray - Oct 29, 2012

He strove to align his spiritual insights with his Reformed theology, but he was accused by Reformed critics of teaching free will and that God wills the redemption of all

July 29, 2012

 “If you aim at heaven, you get earth thrown in. But if you aim at earth, you get neither.” C.S. Lewis

"I'm not interested in dying and going to heaven or dying and going to hell. I'm interested in living." Oral Roberts after he was told to accept his childhood disease

 Feb 17/12

 Day 13 – What is the Kingdom?

You know that John the Baptist preached that the kingdom of God, or the kingdom of heaven, had come. During the Old Testament times, it had been spoken of and promised and hoped for, but it had not come. During the life of Christ on earth, there were great signs of it coming, and Christ foretold what it would be when He said..

 

Luke 17:20-21 - "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, 21 nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within[b] you."

 

On the day of Pentecost, that word was fulfilled. The Holy Spirit brought the kingdom of God from heaven and into the hearts of the disciples. Then the disciples went and preached the Gospel of the kingdom, not as if it were coming, but as if it had come.


Act 3:6, 7 - Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." 7Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong.


It is now not difficult to answer the question, What is the kingdom of God?

It is that spiritual state in which the life of God and of heaven is made accessible to mankind, and they enter into its enjoyment here on earth.


The promise of the Old Testament is fulfilled at Pentecost. By this power feeble men & women were made mighty through God.


Mat 11:11 "Let me tell you what's going on here: No one in history surpasses John the Baptizer; but in the kingdom he prepared you for, the lowliest person is ahead of him.


Jesus said that we would be greater than John the Baptist. WOW!


Prayer………

In prayer today do not limit what God can do through you… You have His Kingdom in you…….

Feb 15/12  "Heaven is not a place we go to, It's where we rule from"...Kobus

 Feb 14/12

Response to going to heaven after you die

#1-Love Wins Companion CHAPTER TWO

HERE IS THE NEW THERE

Overview by Rob Bell

What’s fascinating to me is how many people, when you say the word heaven, immediately think, “Oh, that’s the place that either does or doesn’t exist, based on your story and your beliefs and your perspectives; it’s the place that either does or doesn’t exist when you die that is out there, over there, somewhere else.” What I find ter ribly compelling is that when Jesus talked about heaven, he mostly talked about a dimension, a way of living, the accessibility of the life of God, right here, right now, in this world. For Jesus, heaven was far less about a speculation on what it will be like then and there and far more about a confidence that you, right now, can step into. Jesus called this “eternal life,” which was a very rabbinical concept that meant living in conscious contact and communion with God right here, right now. Is that actually possible?

Was Jesus being truthful here? Can you actuallystep into a whole new kinf of life right here and now? Because if that's true, that raises all sorts of questions.

#2 N. T Wright Book How God became King

Millions of readers when they hear Matthew's Jesus talking about doing this or that "so that you may enter the kingdom of heaven" assume, without giving it a moment's thought, that this means "so that you may go to heaven after you die." ...

The "kingdom of heaven" is not about people going to heaven. It is about the rule of heaven coming to earth.

#3 Apostle Paul - Gal 1:4 (NIV) who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age (57AD...), according to the will of our God and Father,

Feb 13/12

Q? - When Jesus used the word "saved" was He refering to a place after we die or the daily life of those who he was talking to?

The fear of a future hell has had many focus on a future damnation or salvation instead of a salvation that is here and NOW.

The result leads to a religion not a relationship.

 

Article - worth reading - it's a start

Blood Blinded Christians

I think some Christians are a bit blood obsessed.

I attend a church with a blended worship style (mostly contemporary music with a traditional hymn or two thrown in each Sunday), but the other week we had one of those good old worship services where we sang the holy trinity of blood songs.

Nothing but the Blood

There is Power in the Blood

Are You Washed in the Blood?

Now, there’s nothing wrong with celebrating the blood of Christ and recognizing its role in our salvation, but the issue I have is that I think many have so focused on this aspect of salvation that they have become "blood blind" in their theology of salvation. I used to be blood blind too, but through the teachings of a couple of great men – Bill Gillham and Watchman Nee – God has opened my eyes to understand a more complete view of salvation.

The traditional view of salvation that I learned and that is still prevalent in the church revolves around the central issue of sin and our need to be forgiven of our sins in order to have eternal life and go to heaven when we die (vs. going to hell if your sins have not been forgiven). And how can we receive this much-needed forgiveness of our sins? You guessed it – the blood of Christ (which is why we sing about it)! Jesus died on the cross and shed His blood at Calvary to pay for our sins and He offers the free gift of eternal life to anyone who wishes to receive it.

Ok, so what’s the problem? If you’re a Bible-believing Christian, this probably all sounds good and theologically correct, doesn’t it? The problem is that this view of salvation that focuses on the remission of sins through the shed blood of Christ doesn’t tell the whole story. This leads to a limited understanding of what actually happens when one is saved which in turn can lead to faulty theology and other issues in the Christian life.

If you ask this typical church or Christian, "what must I do to be saved and have eternal life?" you would likely get an answer like the following:

1. Admit that you are a sinner.

2. Believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins.

3. Repent of your sins and ask Jesus into your heart to be the Lord of your life.

But, what if you were to ask Jesus this question? How would He answer it? Lucky for us, somebody did approach Jesus with this question while He was alive on the earth and, interestingly enough, His answer is quite different than the typical answer. Take a look at this scene from John 3 (verses 1-6, New King James Version):

"There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him. Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.’"

See the difference? Jesus doesn’t tell Nicodemus that he needs to have his sins taken care of – He tells Nicodemus that he needs to have his sin nature taken care of. It’s the difference between treating the symptom of a disease and treating the root cause of the disease. In other words, sin is the symptom of the sin nature and while it is important to be cleansed from sin (the symptom) it is equally (perhaps more) important to deal with the root issue – the sin nature.

If you’ve never heard anyone make a distinction between sin and the sin nature it may be a bit confusing as to what I’m really talking about. An illustration here may be helpful.

This graphic represents the fact that man has 3 parts: Body, Soul and Spirit. At his core, man is a spiritual being with a spiritual nature. Our spiritual nature is housed inside a physical body and we each have a unique soul or personality.

When God created Adam and Eve, they were sinless, their spirits were alive and they were in fellowship with God. When Adam and Eve sinned, they suffered spiritual death and separation from God. Because we are Adam’s descendants, we are born with spirits that are also dead and separated from God. This is what is known as our sin nature. Because we are born with dead, sinful spirit natures, we are therefore "sinners" at birth. This is an important point – you are not a sinner because you have sinned; you are a sinner because you were born with a sin nature; sinning is merely a symptom of your inner spiritual condition.

When Nicodemus comes to Jesus, Jesus effectively tells Nicodemus that he needs to have his current spiritual nature which is dead and sinful replaced with one that is alive and sinless. How can this be done? The answer is, "birth." Your birth determines your nature. When you were born physically "in Adam" you received Adam’s dead, sinful nature. To remedy this, you must be born a second time (spiritually in Christ rather than physically in Adam) in order to receive a new nature that is sinless and alive in Christ.

Not only must you receive a new, alive, sinless spiritual nature through spiritual rebirth; your former, dead, sinful spiritual nature must be removed. Otherwise, you would be a house divided with two natures warring against each other. Some people believe that this is how it is when you are saved – that you still have your old sinful nature to contend with, but I believe the Bible makes it clear that this is not the case. I believe this is the point of the parable of the wineskins (Mark 2, Luke 5). The wineskin represents our spiritual nature and, according to the parable, you can’t patch the old wineskin – you need a new wineskin.

The Bible states that, as believers, we are crucified with Christ, we are raised with Christ and we are new creatures in Christ. I believe that this is how the problem of our sin nature is dealt with during salvation. Through our crucifixion with Christ, our sin nature is crucified and removed. Through our resurrection with Christ, a new, alive, sinless nature is birthed within us and we are therefore new spiritual creatures as a result.

So, I believe a more complete picture of salvation involves four distinct elements. Each one is amazing and a mystery not completely fathomable by the human mind – they must be accepted by faith:

1. Our sins are forgiven having been paid for by the blood of Christ.

2. Our old sinful nature is eliminated through our participation in the crucifixion of Christ.

3. A new sinless nature is birthed within us through our participation in the resurrection of Christ.

4. The Holy Spirit indwells us and is united with our new spiritual nature.

What I find interesting and somewhat disturbing is how some understand and focus on the first and last elements to the point that they seem to be oblivious and ignorant of elements 2 and 3 – the very ones that Christ focused on when He explained to Nicodemus how to enter the kingdom of God.

How did we ever come up with a salvation formula that doesn’t include the elements that Christ Himself felt were the most important ones to discuss with Nicodemus?

Author Unknown

 John 3:16 - Commentary

God your creator is so passionate about the world he created He even was willing to suffer for us through crucification on the cross, die for us and through this show His unending love for us. So those who come to believe or trust, clings to, relies on Him will have victory over the power of darkness in this world & live life abundantly, supernaturally and do the same things Jesus has shown you when he was on this earth with mankind. He went to the cross for you so you can again have the indwelling of His Spirit and be restored back to right relationship as was in the beginning with God and Adam. Holy Spirit in you, on you, and around you. This is not for future purposes but NOW is the time for My salvation. “It is finished” was His passion and purpose to go through with this sacrifice. Victory is yours now and of course in the future as you go forth in Me